411homerepair.com

Latest Articles

How to Know if Mold Is In Your Walls

Some mold types are very dangerous. So, it's vital that the contaminated areas are remediated right away. Find out how to know if there is mold...

on Aug 18, 2018

8 Great Home Buying Tips

There is a lot to think about when considering a new home. Feeling overwhelmed and confused is easy, but don’t let emotions take over to the...

on Aug 17, 2018

5 Good Reasons Why You Should Hire Custom Home Builders

Whether you’re building your dream home, renovating your house, or trying to sell a second hand home, you should always consider seeking...

on Aug 14, 2018

Property Business and The Ways To Make a Profit

If you are thinking of quitting your day job and pursuing a DIY passion, refurbishing a home can provide a good channel to release all that pent-up...

on Aug 13, 2018

Don’t Overlook These Household Maintenance Tips for Avoiding Costly Leaks

It goes without saying that household flooding and water damage from plumbing and other household issues are time-consuming and costly to deal...

on Aug 12, 2018

Introduction to Landscape Lighting

by Dan Eskelson on Apr 30, 2012

Low voltage landscape lighting systems are safe, economical, energy efficient and provide numerous benefits for modern homeowners. Lighting can be used to provide safe access near paths, drives and entry areas. Outdoor lighting increases security by discouraging potential intruders. And the beauty of garden and home can be dramatically enhanced by showcasing architectural and plant features with dramatic lighting techniques.

One common technique is uplighting, which focuses light and attention on an object from a low fixture location. The object can be a shrub, tree or architectural feature like a gazebo or arbor. Bullet or well type fixtures are specified according to the mature size of the plant or the size of the hardscape area to be illuminated.

Pathlighting uses low fixtures which direct illumination down and outward. These fixtures are shielded on top to prevent glare. They are used along walks, stairs and anywhere else that safe night access is required.

Another technique is downlighting, or moonlighting. Usually accomplished with bullet type fixtures placed above eye level on a structure (or even in a tree), this technique illuminates general areas for safety, security and aesthetics. Fixtures and lamps are chosen for the required brightness and width of illumination.

Backlighting, or silhouette lighting, provides a special effect by illuminating a fairly large surface (like a wall) using a wash light fixture. This causes objects in front of the lighting to appear as silhouettes.

The technique of shadowing also uses lights directed toward walls, but they are placed in front of the objects, so shadows play on the wall.

Numerous other techniques, and combinations of techniques, are available to increase your home security, safety, enjoyment and value. The practical and aesthetic effects created by landscape lighting are limited only by the existing features of the architecture and landscaping and by the creativity of the designer.

Before deciding what and how to light, we must first ask "why light?" Our design decisions are dependent on proposed uses for landscape lighting...for safety, security, property value, or enhancement of the beauty of the garden and structures. Most likely, the answer will be a combination of two or more of these uses. A specific technique can be employed to satisfy more than one requirement...for example, uplighting a prominent tree near the house entrance will provide safety, security and aesthetic enhancement.

Landscape lighting design is very similar to the design of the landscape itself: we must determine focal points, use areas, traffic patterns, outdoor "rooms," style, mood, etc. We need to consider how the proposed lighting will enhance the form, color and texture of the soft and hard landscape elements. Lighting should serve to unify both interior and exterior design themes, conceal what may be unattractive and shape the view of the landscape at night.

The design process should begin with a site map, drawn to scale, showing all landscape features and areas that need lighting. Fixtures and lamps are chosen for each area based on the desired effects ...path lights for safe passage along walks and stairs, wash fixtures for silhouette effects against a wall, etc.

One common mistake is to overlight; low levels of light create subtle beauty, and are often also sufficient for safety and security. Use brighter lighting effects for focal points, and consider the effects that different light intensities will have on the overall design.

After deciding on the size and placement of lighting fixtures, the electrical system is designed. The heart of the system is the transformer, which converts the household 120 volts into safe, efficient 12 volts, and delivers this voltage to several circuits. Using appropriately sized cables and approved connectors, fixtures are connected to the transformer.

Group fixtures in zones determined by the distance to the transformer. The number of fixtures on each circuit will be limited by the wattage of individual lamps, distance to the transformer and associated voltage drop in the circuit.

Voltage drop calculations are critical; excess voltage results in hot lamps with greatly shortened life - insufficient voltage results in weak, ineffective lighting. The design challenge is to match cable size, total lamp wattage and circuit length to produce voltage within the range of 10.5 to 12 volts. A new generation of transformers uses a multi-tap configuration to provide voltages in excess of 12 volts for those zones at a sufficient distance from the transformer. (The excess voltage is reduced by the length of run to the first fixture). This allows greater design freedom and efficiency.

A common practice among lighting designers and installers is to allow for plenty of movement of the fixture locations. By leaving extra cable at each fixture, changes can be made to the system after installation, and after several years of plant growth.

Dan Eskelson @ Clearwater Landscapes, Inc.

Author

Most Recent Articles

Sponsored Articles

Random Articles

6 Simple DIY Tips to Make Your Furniture Last Longer

We use different kinds of furniture pieces in our homes, such that today they have become the most integral house interiors features. So,...

Cleaning / Maintenance

How You Can Save the Environment by Taking Care of Your Home

You might not know this, but repairing your home can have positive outcomes not only for you, but also for the planet. As it becomes more and more...

General Household

Home Security Tips for While You're Away on Vacation

Constantly worrying about the security of your home while you are away is one of the surest ways to ruin your vacation. However, there are some...

Electrical / Lighting

6 Things You Need to Know About Unfinished Kitchen Cabinets

If you want to get a custom look in your kitchen, you can do it affordably by purchasing unfinished kitchen cabinets. These types of cabinets come...

Kitchen / Bathrooms

Storage and Home Staging: Cutting Down on Your Home's Clutter

Before you can move into a new home, you've got to sell your old home. But doing that isn't always easy, particularly in today's...

Real Estate / Finance

Actions

Contact Us | Submit Article | 411homerepair © 2018